Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted March 11, 2014
For American workers the more-than-five-year wait for the Keystone XL pipeline is personal. Make that very personal.
During a press conference with other union leaders and API President and CEO Jack Gerard, Laborers International Union of North America President Terry O’Sullivan said the construction sector is saddled with 12.8 percent unemployment, with nearly 1 million out of work. So every one of the 42,000 jobs the U.S. State Department estimates the Keystone XL would create during its construction phase is highly prized.
Posted March 11, 2014
Denver Post Editorial: Speeding up U.S. natural gas exports was a good idea even before the crisis in Crimea, but it's an even better idea now.
It's not as if U.S. exports are going to undermine Vladimir Putin's imperialistic designs in the short term. Ukraine would love to be less dependent on Russia for natural gas, but the export infrastructure in the U.S. for liquefied natural gas (LNG), particularly in terms of ports, isn't ready.
Indeed, the earliest that an export terminal is expected to come on line is in late 2015, with other terminals becoming operational perhaps a couple of years later. For that matter, the government doesn't direct where exports go. If the price in Asia for LNG is higher than in Europe, U.S. exports will tend to wind up there.
Still, the more gas is available worldwide, the less leverage Putin will have in bullying neighbors and in talks with European powers such as Germany, which also depends on Russian gas.
Posted March 7, 2014
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll on the Keystone XL pipeline adds to the drumbeat of strong public support for building the pipeline. The Post/ABC survey shows a nearly 3 to 1 margin, with 65 percent saying Keystone XL should be approved.
Posted February 27, 2014
Four Charts Show How Impressive the Shale Energy Boom Is
U.S. Chamber Blog: How important has the shale energy boom been to jobs and the economy? Very important. Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute writes in a new report that the oil and natural gas sector has “provided a greater single boost to the U.S. economy than any other sector.” He adds:
The $300–$400 billion overall annual economic gain from the oil & gas boom has been greater than the average annual GDP growth of $200–$300 billion in recent years—in other words, the economy would have continued in recession if it were not for the unplanned expansion of the oil & gas sector.
On jobs, Mills found impressive growth nationwide as well as in states experiencing the shale boom up close and personal.
These four charts from Mills’ report show how the shale energy boom has been the job creation story of our economic recovery.
Posted February 26, 2014
Surge in Fuel Exports Boosting U.S. Trade Balance
Fuel Fix Blog: HOUSTON — Growing production of U.S. oil and gas is helping to improve the nation’s trade balance, according to a federal report Monday.
Dramatic growth in the export of refined petroleum products, such as jet fuel and gasoline, has led the way. The value of net refined exports increased 55 percent in 2013 over the prior year, reaching $33 billion, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
U.S. refiners are finding cheaper domestic alternatives to overseas oil, causing a rally in the ratio of refined fuel exports to imports. Overall energy export values increased 8 percent in 2013 over the prior year. Total energy imports to the U.S. fell by 11 percent for the same time period.
Posted February 21, 2014
Well-Being in America: Shale Gas Buys You Happiness
The Economist: Based on interviews with more than 178,000 people from all 50 states, the Well-Being Index offers an interesting glimpse of the physical and mental health of the nation. It also spotlights the country's winners and losers. The results divide regionally, with Midwestern and Western states earning nine of the ten best scores in 2013, while Southern states have eight of the ten lowest. Massachusetts has the highest rate of residents with health insurance (which may bode well for Obamacare). Colorado, meanwhile, nearly always has the lowest obesity rate.
Sitting pretty in first place now is North Dakota, which has displaced Hawaii as the state where people are most likely to be healthy and feel good about their life and work. North Dakota’s speedy climb to first place from 19 last year seems to have a lot to do with the shale-gas boom, which has buoyed the state with lots of new jobs and money. This bonanza has apparently trickled into South Dakota, which has elbowed aside Colorado to secure second place.
Posted February 21, 2014
It’s hard to look at the delays that have kept the Keystone XL pipeline on the drawing board for more than five years and not think about the countless American workers – in construction, fabrication, supply, transport and other sectors – who would be helped by the project finally getting under way. People like Billy Rogers.
We met Rogers last year and he spoke about how a large, shovel-ready infrastructure project like the Keystone XL benefits working men and women. He knew this full well, being among 5,000 U.S. workers building Keystone XL’s southern leg, Gulf Coast Pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma:
“Working on the Gulf Coast Project has afforded me a good income that allows me to support my family. In addition, the construction of this project has had a significant impact in the local communities in which we work as the hundreds of crew members spend their money locally in restaurants, grocery stores, shops – everyone is benefiting.”
Our economy needs more good-news stories like Rogers’ – as many as possible.
Posted February 19, 2014
The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution
Foreign Affairs (Blackwell and O’Sullivan): Only five years ago, the world’s supply of oil appeared to be peaking, and as conventional gas production declined in the United States, it seemed that the country would become dependent on costly natural gas imports. But in the years since, those predictions have proved spectacularly wrong. Global energy production has begun to shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East, as producers tap unconventional gas and oil resources around the world, from the waters of Australia, Brazil, Africa, and the Mediterranean to the oil sands of Alberta. The greatest revolution, however, has taken place in the United States, where producers have taken advantage of two newly viable technologies to unlock resources once deemed commercially infeasible: horizontal drilling, which allows wells to penetrate bands of shale deep underground, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses the injection of high-pressure fluid to release gas and oil from rock formations.
Posted February 18, 2014
Check out a new video that zeroes in on President Obama’s opportunities to help U.S. workers, the nation’s economy and America’s energy security by approving the Keystone XL pipeline for construction.
As the video points out, by approving the Keystone XL, President Obama can green light a significant infrastructure project that’s shovel-ready – and ready to put thousands of Americans to work during its construction phase. The pipeline would provide a broad boost to the economy in terms of worker earnings, spending on materials and economic activity from support and associated sectors.
Posted February 18, 2014
U.S. Energy Secretary Says Fracking Brings Prosperity
Capital New York: ALBANY—U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz said Andrew Cuomo should consider the economic prosperity fracking has brought to Pennsylvania as he weighs a ban in New York.
Natural gas produced by fracking has boosted American industry by more than $100 billion and lowered CO2 emissions, Moniz said, in an interview with Capital.
“This new resource is of critical importance. If you look at Pennsylvania, it's amazing, in the Marcellus shale,” he said. “They have gone from a very, very minor contributor to the national natural gas production, to nearly 20 percent in a remarkably short period. And as we know, that has had enormous economic benefits for the state. Obviously, New York will presumably take that as one of the factors to be considered in its decision.”
Moniz acknowledged that high-volume hydraulic fracturing presents environmental challenges, but said it can also be done safely. Proper management of wells is important including minimizing water usage as well as recycling and the careful monitoring of surface water and flow back fluids.